As the reach and versatility of social and digital media have expanded, they have achieved more than simply adding another useful channel to the marketing toolkit, says Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters.
“These new channels allow us to drill down into market sectors and localities, interpreting our brand message to appeal at local level encouraging existing and potential customers to step into the store and explore our offerings,” he says. “For franchises particularly, these channels have transformed the way we conduct our marketing activities and liberated franchisees to talk more directly to their customer base.”
For some time, retail chains have tailored stock levels and ranges to each store’s local market and demographic, he notes. Franchises, on the other hand, tend to operate over a spectrum of centralisation. Some insist on tight control of menus or skincare treatments offered and the products used to deliver these, while others give franchisees more room to manoeuvre to suit their market.
One of the foundations of Cash Converters’ business is buying and selling second-hand goods, putting it into the second hand category as availability of and demand for these products varies markedly according to an area’s demographic. This variety might seem like a marketing nightmare for any brand wanting to create a national footprint but, in fact, it offers a two-fold opportunity to maximise brand impact, says Mukheibir.
“Our advertising agency does fewer national campaigns for us, instead developing a creative approach that defines the ‘mother brand’,” he says. “This can be carried through to local area marketing by our franchisees.”
Templates for more traditional media channels from radio slots to lamp-post posters can then be applied by each franchisee to their store-specific brief, assisted and authorised by the company’s marketing team before broadcasting or publication. The team can also help familiarise franchisees with associated processes from booking advertising space to awareness of local bylaws regarding posting advertising material.
Like many other SA brands, Cash Converters includes newer advertising channels such as SMS, WhatsApp, Google and Facebook in its marketing mix. The company drives this centrally to ensure that content is in line with brand standards. The company’s local-area marketing manager Juan Botha gives franchisees seminars and step-by-step guidance on how to use these channels successfully, right down to a manual on photographing stock to appear at its best on social media. Cash Converters is seeing particular success through its use of Lead Gener8or™, a unique tool developed by South African digital agency Bastion & Flowe.
“What appeals to us is how this tool allows us to empower our franchisees to run their own cost-effective, bespoke local marketing campaigns in a radius around their store,” says Mukheibir. “Franchisees have access to a team of Bastion & Flowe’s digital marketing experts, while our central marketing department stays in control of the overall message, branding and how the ads look. Protecting the brand with consistent messaging that supports our company values is important for all our franchisees, plus the capacity to extend their marketing locally offers each of them the opportunity to improve their individual results.”
Lead Gener8or™ allows franchisees to target its advertising using insights from Google, Facebook, Cash Converters’ customer book and Bastion & Flowe’s extensive consumer database, explains JG Bezuidenhout of Bastion & Flowe. This ensures the communication reaches a carefully curated list of potential customers through optimised placement on Google, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
“A couple of centuries ago, town criers used to keep the public up to date on what was happening in their community,” says Mukheibir. “Social media is our equivalent of this today and we recognise that we still need to hone our messages carefully if they are to be heard above the digital clamour and, with Lead Gener8or™, succeed in making our businesses the talk of the town.”